Every so often the Miri Signal goes up in the sky and I am called to defend the existence of female condoms. If this Daily Dot piece feels familiar, that may be because it was partially cribbed from a piece I wrote last year.
Every so often, a prominent website devoted to “women’s issues” will post an article about how female condoms are terrible and ugly and totally unsexy and you shouldn’t bother using them. The articles will almost always attempt unflattering comparisons offemale condoms to plastic bags and trash cans for added effect.
Last year on Jezebel, Tracie Egan Morrisey published a piece called “Stop Trying To Make Female Condoms Happen,” in which she wrote: “After never really catching on in the 30 years since its invention, the female condom has received a redesign with the hopes that women will change their minds about wanting to line their vaginas like a waste paper basket.” (The redesign had actually happened several years prior.) And in a recent xoJane article, “Anonymous” concludes:
Given the substantial developments in condom design, further investments in the female condom seem like a waste. It’s an over-engineered solution for a problem that’s already being solved much more effectively. In addition, the high individual cost of the female condom creates a significant barrier when compared to single conventional condoms. Furthermore, my lab partner pointed out, there’s really no way to discreetly carry a female condom around. So much for spontaneity.
“There’s really no way to discreetly carry a female condom around?” They’re barely bigger than the other kind.
It’s important to note that, despite their names, female condoms can be used by people who are not female, and “male condoms” can be used for sex that involves neither males nor penises. But since that’s what everyone’s calling them, those are the conventions with which I’ll stick for now.
Writers who snarkily dismiss female condoms always focus on how they look or sound and which household items they most resemble, but they rarely note some of the benefits of the admittedly funny-looking things. Here are a few:
1) Female condoms are made out of nitrile, not latex, which means that people who have latex allergies can use them.
2) And because they’re not made of latex, you can use them with oil-based lube in addition to water- and silicone-based lube.
3) Many folks with penises say that female condoms feel better than male condoms because it’s less restrictive and there’s more friction on the penis. (Others disagree. That’s okay!) And in fact, there may be more sensation for both partners because nitrile is thinner than latex.
4) With female condoms you don’t have to worry about losing your erection or having to pull out immediately after, and they’re also much less likely to come out than male condoms are to slide off.
5) Because female condoms also cover some area around the vaginal opening, STI transmission may be reduced.
6) Unlike male condoms, you can put them in hours before having sex if you don’t want to worry about it in the heat of the moment.
7) The outer ring of the female condom can stimulate the clitoris, and the inner ring can stimulate the penis. Win!
Read the rest here.